Two People in The Same Place Going Different Directions
MANY DAYS, MY WORK INVOLVES INTERACTING WITH EMPLOYEES AT THEIR WORKPLACE. As an adviser to employer-based retirement plans, I help people enroll in their plan and then provide ongoing guidance on their questions and planning needs.
RECENTLY I MET WITH TWO EMPLOYEES IN BACK-TO-BACK MEETINGS AT ONE OF MY CLIENTS. Both meetings were about 15 minutes. These two colleagues (and friends) work in the same company, for the same management, in the same location, doing the same thing, for about the same amount of time (roughly 20 years). However, their expectations and hopes for the future could not have been more different!
THE FIRST EMPLOYEE, IN HER EARLY 60’S, WANTS TO RETIRE RIGHT NOW! She is burned out after doing the same work in the same location for 20 years. She wanted to discuss when she could go. It’s time for her to get on to something else. She is in relatively good health and wants to begin a new chapter in life.
WHILE SHE WANTS TO LEAVE, SHE DOES NOT HAVE A BAD ATTITUDE AT ALL. She is not a complainer and is very self aware of her career and employment situation. She’s had enough. Nothing more or less complicated than that.
ON THE OTHER HAND, THE SECOND EMPLOYEE, IN HER MID 60’S, WANTS TO WORK AS LONG AS SHE CAN. She likes her job, enjoys coming to work each day, and is not sure what she would do were it not for her work. She is thankful to have her job and how it provides fulfillment to her. She hopes to work well into her 70’s.
SO WHAT’S THE POINT? WHAT DOES THIS SITUATION DEMONSTRATE? It reveals how two people can view the same situation differently and develop opposite goals based upon their unique attitudes. The hopes of these two people, in identical workplace circumstances, show that there is no prescription for the ideal retirement goal.
WHEN YOU THINK OF WHAT YOU WANT AND WHAT MIGHT BE POSSIBLE REMEMBER THAT THIS IS YOUR FUTURE. It doesn’t belong to anyone else. Don’t worry too much about all the studies about the retirement crisis and prescriptions for a “solution”. Many of these reports use averages and ideas that generalize and have nothing to do with your life. Concentrate on what you can do to get closer to your goals.